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Monday Memo: news & views about working at UC
For the Week of August 29, 2011

Despite layoffs, cancelled classes, packed classrooms, reduced library hours, and 32 percent tuition increases, UC "added four new million-dollar earners to its payroll last year," reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

UC’s payroll report for 2010, adds the Chronicle, shows UC "also spent $8 million more on overtime in 2010 than in 2009, even as it added nearly 2,300 employees to its $10 billion payroll.” Payroll grew by nearly $108 million, or about 1 percent, at the same time as its officials mandated a furlough program that reduced many individuals’ salaries by 4 to 10 percent. According to the Sacramento Bee, the payroll report shows that "UC is relying less on students and the state's general fund to make payroll – and more on its hospitals and the federal government."

UC San Diego library staff "are removing roughly 150,000 books and journals from their collections by summer's end – selling volumes to the highest bidder or donating them." These actions result from "at least a $3 million budget cut in the coming academic year – about a 12 percent decrease . . . on top of previous cuts of $5 million since 2008-09." While officials claim that none of the important collections are affected, UCSD has already closed three libraries and has slated another for closure next year.

UC's reasons for failing to provide detailed salary and benefit data to state controller John Chiang, as reported last week, ring hollow to many state residents. North County Times editorial writers had a suggestion for UC's top brass: “Assign the database query as a class project to the graduate students at UC San Diego's Supercomputer Center. We're guessing that within a day or two of that assignment, Chiang – and the taxpayers he is trying to serve – would have the information on how much UC spends on employee compensation. Short of that, UC's leadership needs to stop stonewalling."

Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and UC President Mark Yudof are asking corporations in Silicon Valley and beyond to donate $100 million to fund the university.

It’s all part of a trend to privatize the largest public universities in the nation, while tax revenues decline. Last week, in our story about California’s budget crisis and the role of online retailer Amazon.com’s attempt to evade the state’s sales tax, we inadvertently linked to a story in the Huffington Post. But the Huffington Post itself is the target of a strike by freelance writers organizing with the Newspaper Guild, CWA, after its famous owner refused to pay writers for their work. The original story broke in the
Bay Citizen.
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